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What Houseplants Help With Allergies
Like super air-cleaners, some houseplants help with allergies. They work to clean the air in your home. Yes, some excel at removing annoying chemical residues and other irritants. A NASA study of 1989 found that some plants filter indoor air pollutants such as tobacco smoke, benzene, and formaldehyde.
However, please note that no tests have been carried out on plants’ “ability to regulate air quality in vacuum, space or places outside the normal air exchange of the Earth. Still, the EPA agrees that the known information is quite impressive.
What Do I know about how houseplants help with allergies?
Quite a bit, actually. You see, our family members live with several allergies. Some are food-related, others plant and environmental. As a Mom who prefers natural methods whenever possible, I set out to research how to help my children with these allergies. I avoid certain foods in our family meals for the food issues. And we don’t keep plants nearby that cause plant allergens to infect those with plant allergies.
But indoor air still requires a little extra help. Enter…our family plants! These are carefully chosen to help, not hinder, the air quality for our entire family. In total fairness, we also do a lot of extra cleaning and use good air filters in our air conditioning units. And since our home is quite large, we also have a couple of room-sized air purifiers. I hope to replace them with more plants in time, too!
Not all houseplants are beneficial, however
Remember that some plants excel at improving indoor air quality but have a high pollen count. This makes them terrible for most allergy sufferers. However, consider the best indoor plants for purifying the air. Then set aside a few indoor plants that might trigger allergies. Most people find several high-quality air-purifying plants that allergy sufferers enjoy, too.
In fact, according to indoor plant specialists, a common misconception exists among allergy sufferers. They believe that if some plants aggravate their allergies, they need to avoid all plants. However, studies indicate that’s not correct. Quite the contrary, in fact.
The truth is, plants work to improve our indoor air quality by filtering harmful toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air.
Indoor vs Outdoor Air Quality
The Environmental Protection Agency says the indoor air is 2-5 times worse than the outdoor air in most homes. Therefore, it makes sense to use plants in our homes to improve air quality.
In compiling this list, I selected low-maintenance plants that have the greatest impact on air quality without harmful allergens. I also shared the best air purifier plants for the bedroom, the best indoor plants for low light, small indoor plants, and the best indoor plant for the bathroom.
Next, we will discuss the best indoor plants for air purification for people with asthma and allergies. And in fact, these plants benefit those without breathing difficulties, too.
These Plants Win the Best Air Award
For filtering toxins and keeping the air fresh and clean from allergens, consider these plants:
- Areca Palm
- English Ivy
- Spider Plant
- Gold Pothos
- Snake Plant
- Gum Tree
I have purchased
these same plants
and I highly
A Note about purchasing plants through Amazon or other mail-order services. (please scroll down to read the note)
Best of the Best Houseplants Help With Allergies
Perhaps the best of the best award needs to go to the Spider Plants. These easy to care for beauties not only protect the air without adding pollens. They also grow well in our homes and produce those little baby spiderettes that allow us to share with others. What a gracious family member Spider Plant is!
A close second in our best of the best competition, the Dracaena plant varieties actually trap allergens and keeps them in their leaves, while adding some moisture to the air.
Interesting Dracaena fact: Nicknamed the “Janet Craig” after a prominent nurseryman’s daughter, the Dracaena offers both beauty and versatility, with shiny deep-green leaves.
These Houseplants Help With Allergies, too.
Let’s take a look at five more houseplants that can help to improve indoor air quality and make your home beautiful.
The Areca Palm
Experts consider the Areca Palm as the most efficient air humidifier. You can count on the Areca Palm to keep your home moist when it’s dry, like in winter.
The Lady Palm
This versatile air-purifying plant thrives in dry or humid climates and resists most types of plant-eating insects.
The Bamboo Palm
A little higher maintenance than the two above on this list, the Bamboo Palm thrives when kept moist (but not soggy wet) in indirect sunlight, and is a great air purifier.
These bright and cheerful daisy-like flowers originated from South Africa. While most people plant these plants outside in garden patches, they grow well in containers, too.
The Sansevieria trifasciata (also known as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue) plant makes an excellent air-purifying plant. In fact, it enjoys great popularity, in part due to its air cleaning ability. Also, the Snake Plant makes an easy choice for beginners or those with less time to devote to plant care.
Most people know the Ivy from seeing it adorn the outside of buildings as it grows well that way. However, this leafy vine also makes a great air-purifying houseplant. Note, however, pets should not come in contact with this toxic plant.
Rubber plants, such as Ficus elastica also help allergy sufferers by cleaning the air of chemicals and toxins. While not the same as the Rubber tree, these plants offer an interesting addition to your home.
Other Options: Consider these Colorful Houseplants
Some bright, colorful plants produce pollens that are heavier and stickier. Plus, they are less likely to cause allergic reactions. Consider the Peace Lily, Marginata, or English Ivy.
Not Surprising Facts
It should not come as a surprise that houseplants help relieve allergy symptoms. Many of them excel at trapping dust, filtering the home air, and more. If you know how to care for plants and avoid pollen-producing varieties, you are well on your way to purifying your air. This, in turn, helps reduce your indoor allergies in a natural and healthy way.
Houseplants Help with Allergies and Humidity, too
Houseplants not only improve the indoor air quality in case of allergies. They also help to keep and stabilize the humidity at the recommended level. Some plants need extra humidity added to their environment, but each of them helps control the level.
Houseplants clean the air and alleviate the harmful effects of formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, and other toxins. The natural regulating effect of indoor plants might prove more beneficial than man-made electronic cleaners in some cases. And the greenery and beauty of the houseplants add to our mental and emotional health, too.
What Number of Houseplants Help with Allergies
According to the 1989 NASA study, several plant varieties actively remove ammonia, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene from the common indoor air. The recommendation by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA) for efficient air purification is to use at least one plant per 100 square feet of space. The study indicated that this ratio resulted in the most efficient air purification of indoor pollutants. Of course, plant lovers may keep even more!
Some plants offer extra health benefits for allergy sufferers. Knowing how houseplants help with allergies and which plants work best, helps you choose the best plants to add to your home.
Houseplants and Allergies: Best and Worst Choices
What Kind of Water for Houseplants?
Low-Maintenance Pet-Friendly Houseplants
Houseplants for Home, Plants for Health
NASA Clean Air Study (Wikipedia)
A Note about purchasing plants through Amazon or other mail-order services.
I used to be reluctant to buy live plants to have shipped to me. But after purchases locally and encountering problems, I decided to try. To my amazement, my plants have always arrived healthy and disease-free. Shippers know how to package the plants to enable safe traveling, too.
To be fair, most local nurseries do take excellent care of their plants and try to provide only healthy stock to their customers. The problems that might arise include having staff that needs more training or, more likely, customers handling the plants. You see, if someone with a diseased plant comes to look at plants without taking necessary washing care, they might accidentally pass a disease on to the plants for sale. It’s also possible that one plant at the nursery might have a disease problem that is easily spread as customers browse, often handling plants.
Of course, this might also be a problem in the nurseries that are shipping. However, it seems to occur less frequently. I suspect that part of that is because in the wholesale environment, fewer people actually contact the plants.
Should you purchase locally or through a shipper? The choice is yours, of course. I like the advantage of speaking directly with the grower or reseller. But I’ve come to rely quite a bit on Amazon and other shipping options for the majority of my plants.
If you choose to purchase through one of the shippers I advertise and have any comments (good or bad) I welcome them! And of course, with any product that I recommend, if you have a problem, please let me know.
Please NOTE: Every product that I recommend is one that I have either personal experience with or have a friend or relative with such. If you have a comment regarding any of them, please let me know.
Hello. My kids also suffer from asthma and allergies related to dust, pollen, fur and food. I do what I can to make life easier for them. House plants that help with allergies are an excellent choice, they clean the air and also look beautiful. We have a dracaena and a bamboo palm in our house. They don`t need too much attention, just some watering and a spot without direct sunlight.
So many families have asthma and allergy issues, like yours does, Debora. It’s good that you have found some plants to help.
I basically love mums and pollies because they clear the air and do not produce pollen which reduces allergies. Very few people actually know about these plants but it’s really easy and helpful to keep them around. All you have to do is keep the plant in the corner of your room and water it.
That is true, Kenny. These plants make great companions in our homes and require little care.
Thank you so much for sharing this useful post.
I have a spider plant, but it’s on my balcony outside. I didn’t know this plant can survive inside a house and that it purifies the air. This is fantastic. My son is suffering from allergies. In fact, two weeks ago, he did an allergy test to see where it comes from, and they found out it’s because of dust. Can the spider plant be in a place without light? I ask this because I have a studio that doesn’t have any windows.
Thank you very much!
Many plants, including the spider plant, will stay healthy with little light. If your home has no light, you might consider adding a small full-spectrum plant light to give it a little boost.
I’ve never struggled with allergies and as such didn’t know this. Cool stuff! I subscribed to your newsletter for sure 🙂 My mum drilled in that we had so many houseplants for two reasons. One being that the green glow in the living room made it feel like a calm and happy place, and two, that phytoncides (released by plants) are a huge player in mental health. Powerful stuff!
Your mother is a wise woman, Liam!
Just read your artcle here and it was certainly very educational. I’ve always liked houseplants and knew that many of them were good for all sorts of medicinal, aromatherapuetic and even nutritional value. But I didnt realise that some of them were actually good for helping with allergies. I dont have any allergies that i’m aware of (touches wood). But it’s always useful information to know about.
Yes, it’s true that plants offer us many benefits. Purifying the air is beneficial even if you don’t have allergies, but it’s good you don’t suffer from allergies.